PSDFan Extra

  • FanExtra Network
  • PSDFan Extra
  • BlogsFan Extra
30 Minute Redesign #96: Brusheezy

FanExtra Membership:

Sign up today for a FanExtra membership, and get access to hundreds of design files from our range of network sites.

>> Sign up to FanExtra Today

Promote this Post:

We'd really appreciate it if you took a moment to help promote this post. Your efforts help keep this site running.

30 Minute Redesign #96: Brusheezy

Today I’m going to be redesigning Brusheezy, a hugely popular site offering free Photoshop brushes.

The Original Design:

You can see the original site design below:

Brusheezy

You can check out the original website here: Brusheezy

First Impressions: Strengths

Every site has some merits, and the good impressions I made here are these:

Brusheezy is Clean and Professional

The current version of Brusheezy is actually a redesign of their original site.

It’s a great design, and so let me start this casestudy by saying that I don’t think a total overhaul is needed. In fact far from it!

Brusheezy has a clean, professional design that is for the most part fairly easy to use. The colors are soft and easy on the eyes, and there is great attention to detail (with elements such as the menu having a very ‘pixel perfect’) feel.

Elements on the homepage are well spaced, and nothing feels particularly cramped.

In fact, many of the usual issues I find with sites are avoided with Brusheezy!

Brusheezy Redesign

It’s Apparent What the Site Does

Due to the name ‘Brusheezy’ this site doesn’t need a whole lot more explanation.

However, everything from the logo to the featured brushes section above the fold make it clear that this is a site offering free Photoshop brushes.

The reader isn’t left wondering about the purpose of the site, and is able to get on with browsing the available brush sets.

Brusheezy Redesign

Consistent Branding and Style

As well as having a very solid design, Brusheezy makes a good job of consistency throughout their site. The typography, colors and styling are all very consistent across the entire page, making it feel familiar and more usable.

Little splashes of blue and the consistent 1px faint gray borders around certain images all help bring this design together.

Brusheezy Redesign

First Impressions: Weaknesses

Of course no website is perfect, and our site’s often make negative first impressions upon readers without us even realizing! Here are the negative first impressions I received from this site:

Elements of the Site Push People Away

I always like to think how to make my sites as ‘watertight’ as possible. By this I mean retaining visitors, instead of pushing them away.

I see that Brusheezy has a LOT of advertising. I recognize that there may be a need for this, and it’s probably not worth removing/replacing if it’s generating quite significant revenue. One idea may be to push their membership area more through these ad spaces, as this will help generate revenue whilst also keeping people on their network of sites. Another option is reducing the number of ads and upping your prices (this may not affect your advertisers negatively as they should receive more clicks with less ads on the page). In terms of visitor engagement it’s always better to have 2 ads at $50 each, rather than 10 ads at $10 each.

Other areas like the ‘friends of Brusheezy’ section in the footer are a classic example of losing visitors needlessly.

Even the header cross promotion to ‘videezy.com’ may benefit their network, but it also feels like it’s drawing me away from this site.

Overall it’s hard to put my finger on it, but I don’t feel like Brusheezy is keeping me on their site as well as it could. Often I do feel like I’m being pushed away by the wide variety of ads and other elements.

Brusheezy Redesign

Not Enough Emphasis is Put on the Brushes

I know that Brusheezy offers other types of files (patterns, textures etc…) but for me (and many others) it will always be a Photoshop brushes website.

This is inferred by their name, and seems to be the thing that they want to push the most, and what they are most known for.

Given this, it’s strange to see them not pushing the brushes on their site a great deal.

If you look at their homepage they actually given fairly equal precedence to ‘textures’, ‘patterns’ and ‘sponsored images’, giving each a box displaying 6 featured items via thumbnail format.

Given that the Eezy network contains a series of niche sites for things like ‘vectors’ and ‘website inspiration’ I could see it being more effective to put Textures and Patterns within their own network sites. This would:

a.) Help to grow their network
b.) Allow them to market more specifically for each site
c.) Allow them to clarify the purpose of each site

Looking at point c here, Brusheezy would be able to clarify their purpose much better, being seen as the go to place for free Photoshop brushes, rather than a site that’s trying to do too much.

Brusheezy Redesign

Browsing Brushes Could Be Easier

This is the main problem I can see with Brusheezy.

It’s just not that easy to find the right brushes, at least not from the homepage!

The ONLY links to brushes on the homepage are:

  • The ‘brushes’ menu link
  • The 6 featured brushes
  • The search form allowing you to browse brushes

There are several issues with this:

  • The search form isn’t clearly for searching brushes. At first I thought that it was for searching the site in general, rather than trying to find brush sets.
  • The featured brush sets only show a tiny percentage of the brushes available on the site. It’s not a great draw to encourage people to start browsing.
  • By needing to click through to the ‘brushes’ page, using the menu, you’re adding an extra step for people. You should make it easy to start browsing brushes right on the homepage.

Brusheezy Redesign

My Redesign Proposal

You can see my redesign proposal below:

Brusheezy Redesign

Let’s look at some of my aims for the redesign:

More Visitor Retention

As I mentioned, it’s not great how the current Brusheezy feels like it’s pushing you away.

In order to retain more visitors (whilst keeping the ad units in place) I did a few things:

  • I removed the ‘friends’ section and replaced it with a newsletter subscription area (you should be collecting emails)
  • I replaced the header link pushing people to another network site with a slogan naming Brusheezy as a hugely popular brush website (giving you social proof and helping to explain what the site does more).
  • I made browsing easier (more on this below)

Brusheezy Redesign

Easier Browsing

The main problem with the current version of Brusheezy is that it isn’t that easy to browse brushes.

If you really want to browse them more easily you need to go to the ‘brushes’ subpage, rather than use the homepage, which only previews 6 featured brush sets.

To help improve the user experience, I kept the featured brush set area, but made it an interactive slider. This should help engage your visitors more.

I also included a ‘latest brushes’ section, which helps display far more brushes right on the homepage, and lets users order these by ‘latest’, ‘featured’ and ‘highest rated’. Of course you could change these variables to ‘categories’ or anything else you wanted. The point is that your visitors won’t need to find a subpage in order to browse brush sets easily, they can begin doing so on your homepage.

Finally, the inclusion of a pagenation area is a great way to draw people further into the site, rather than pushing them away to an external site.

Brusheezy Redesign

Made Brush Previews Less Ad Like

With so many ad images on Brusheezy (including sponsored images that are laid out in the same format as the actual brush previews) it’s pretty easy to confuse the brush previews on the homepage with ad units. They don’t jump out as being Brusheezy content at first glance.

This is a big problem because it means less people will be clicking these previews.

To help fix this problem, I included brush set names under each preview image, as well as a total number of downloads.

This serves several purposes:

  • It makes it more clear that these areas of content aren’t ad units.
  • The download numbers act as good social proof for Brusheezy’s popularity
  • The brush numbers help clarify the type of brush set (currently some of the previews don’t really show the brush types very well)

Brusheezy Redesign

Suggest Your Own Site for a Redesign

You can have the chance to have your website redesigned in next weeks post. All you need to do is leave a comment to this post with your website address and why you think it needs a redesign.

The Benefits of Getting Your Site Redesigned Include:

  • Most obviously – a FREE redesign job!
  • Your website gets exposure to Blogs.FanExtra’s readers
  • You understand how to improve your website. This isn’t just a redesign, it’s a lesson in design principles.
  • You will get emailed the .psd of your redesign to integrate into your site.

The Rules for Submission:

  • The website your submit must be your own website.
  • Your website must not contain any illegal or inappropriate content.
  • Your website must be English language, as otherwise it’s too difficult for me to redesign out of context.


About the Author:

Tom is the chief editor at Blogs.FanExtra and founder of the FanExtra network. He loves interacting with the community, so if you have any questions hit up the contact page and he'll get back to you.

FanExtra Membership:

Sign up today for a FanExtra membership, and get access to hundreds of design files from our range of network sites.

>> Sign up to FanExtra Today

Promote this Post:

We'd really appreciate it if you took a moment to help promote this post. Your efforts help keep this site running.

Related Posts

Leave a comment

2 Comments:

  1. Su Hall says:

    Hi, Tom,
    I had to check out this article as BrushEezy is one of my faves! I have to agree with you on the home page. There really isn’t any kind of clear content list to choose from. To get to a gallery of their brushes, you have to click on one of the examples on the home page first. Then, you can search.
    Good redesign ideas! Great read, as usual!

    Su

    • Tom says:

      Thanks Su! Brusheezy is one of my favorite brush sites too, so it was a great project to redesign their site. Apparently they will be implementing some of my suggestions, so keep an eye out ;).

Leave a Comment:

Write For Us:

Are you a talented writer or designer? We’re always on the look out for quality authors, and we pay great money for any articles or tutorials accepted! Please get in touch if you’d like to join the FanExtra team.

Latest Members Content:

Here is some of our latest member content, available exclusively to VIP members of our network. To gain access to all these files and more sign up today!

Sticker Mule